Netflix explores haptic video

At a recent hackathon, a Netflix team created a haptic track for a Voltron trailer.

You’re watching your favorite episode of Voltron when, after a suspenseful pause, there’s a huge explosion — and your phone starts to vibrate in your hands.

The Project Rumble Pak hack day project explores how haptics can enhance the content you’re watching. With every explosion, sword clank, and laser blast, you get force feedback to amp up the excitement.

For this project, we synchronized Netflix content with haptic effects using Immersion Corporation technology.

Immersion helped by providing a haptic authoring toolchain for video, include a haptic synthesizer, encoding, and video player. We trained the team on haptic design aesthetics, but to be honest, they barely needed any training and were able to use their design instincts to create a very compelling haptic track with impressive texture, dynamic range, and pacing.

The experience reinforced for me that haptic design isn’t a “dark art.” When creative people who know how to design time-domain signals like video and audio get their hands on our design tools, they’re able to be expressive.

Mobile haptic entertainment is going to happen. The questions are when, and who will pull together the winning solution?

TechCrunch: A Netflix hack lets you feel the action in a scene by vibrating your phone

Engadget: Netflix experiment rumbles your phone during shows

Variety: Netflix Engineers Developed a Rumble Pack Feature During Latest Hack Day

BGR: This haptic feedback concept for the Netflix app is kind of brilliant